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Kookaburras hold on to defeat the Netherlands

Kookaburras 2 
(Glenn Turner 28m FG, Glenn Simpson 49m FG) defeated Netherlands 1 
(Jeroen Hertzberger 25m FG).

Australia A 4 
(Jacob Whetton 33m FG, Tristan White 37m FG, Aran Zalewski 42m FG, Luke Doerner 54m PC)
Argentina 2 
(Matias Vila 7m, Pedro Ibarra 66m PC).

[img_assist|nid=3376|title=Smurfland|desc=Liam de Young on the Smurfturf Hockey Australia/Daniel Carson|link=node|align=left|width=249|height=166]A much closer game was eked out at the new blue turf when the Netherlands played the Kookaburras this afternoon at Lemnos Field in Shenton Park, Perth. Another hot afternoon start made conditions tough for both teams and the early play was an even affair.

Seasoned players Rob Hammond, who has come back from injury and Liam de Young were both transferred from the Australia A team earlier in the tournament and were out to prove they belonged in the ultimate team. They both played great hockey.

The Dutch had a slight advantage in the first 10 minutes and the game was a battle of the midfield with brilliant play through to the forwards on both sides. Solid deep defence meant shots at goal were scarce.

Dutch midfielders Klaas Vermeulen and Robert van der Horst gave the Aussies grief whilst Hammond and Eddie Ockenden for the Kookaburras were instrumental in some fantastic moves through traffic and some deft passing.

The Dutch scored first when a rare miss-trap by Matthew Swann at full back was pounced on by Jeroen Hertzberger whose 180 degree turning shot deceived Swann and the goalie Andrew Charters.

Soon after, Glenn Simpson received the ball at the top of the circle, dummied a tomahawk and hit with a second swipe off the ‘keeper’s pads into the bottom right to even the score.

The second half was again an even tussle. The Kookaburras soon orchestrated a penalty corner and Bob de Voogd broke early in the run out – but the second penalty was easily saved by custodian Jaap Stockmann.

Hammond continued to threaten the Dutch in the second half and his lightening cross in the 37th minute sped across goal to Simpson who batted a reverse stick mid-air shot past Stockmann to give Australia the lead.

de Young was all over the park and he picked up a pin-point Chris Ciriello overhead from defence and weaved through players on the back line. His shot was kicked by Stockmann into another Netherlands defender and a penalty was given but Australia were unable to convert.

The Dutch made a last ditch effort to even the score but the Australian defence held strong. This was an entertaining close contest and the crowd went home happy.

Australia A also tasted success earlier in the day, coming from a goal down to defeat Argentina 4-2.

Matias Vila opened the scoring for Argentina with a field goal in the seventh minute and it took until two minutes before the break for Australia A to level things through Jacob Whetton.

The home side made a bright start to the second half with both Tristan White and Aran Zalewski converting from the field within seven minutes of the re-start.

Luke Doerner increased the advantage midway though the half with a penalty corner conversion before Pedro Ibarra displayed his prowess from corners with a conversion of his own with five minutes to go.

The sixth match of the series will be played at Perth Hockey Stadium on Saturday with a replay of the games played tonight.  Push back in the opener is at 5.00pm.

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